Met League 3 2017: Senior Men and Essex Vets

Last Saturday saw the senior teams commence battle at the 3rd Met League in Uxbridge. We went full of confidence following a fantastic rally at the 2nd fixture, which saw us move up to second in the table. Although perhaps slightly under strength in a strong field led home by the quality of Richard Goodman and Auden Nordtveit, we battled well in the single figure temperatures to finish fourth on the day. Despite dropping a place to third in the league, we are nipping at Serpentine's heels and shall be hungry to put that right when the league returns in the New Year.

Setting the pace for the Woodford men and storming into the lead group was Bertie Powell, easily noticeable in his Arsenal garments, suggesting he is returning back to his best form. Once the race settled Bertie dug in well and produced a pleasing finish of 21st. Bertie was closely followed home by Tom Beedell who, like Bertie, showed a welcome return to form. Tom paced his effort well to move through after the field entertained a quick start, and finished in 24th, seven seconds adrift of Bertie. Further to our first two men home, another who has made a lot of progress over the past weeks is Ryan Mckinlay. The steeplechase specialist had a strong run, sneaking into the top 30 amongst some established runners.

Packing well just behind was Angus Holford, making his first Met League outing of the season. Fresh off some local races near his Colchester base, Angus had a strong run finishing 35th and 12 seconds ahead of his rival of the junior age groups Tom Phillips. Adjusting to post-travelling life, Tom has begun to get some more miles and better quality work in the bank as he makes his return to competitive running. Our 6th man home was team manager Darren Southcott who had a par run for 52nd, and still chasing the cross country form he enjoyed at the end of last season. We had to wait just five seconds for marathon man Daniel Steel to come home in 56th. Dan was a little disappointed with his run, but he will no doubt be saving his best form for the championships after Christmas. Our 8th and 9th men home were separated by just three seconds as Simon Beedell finished in 61st and Harold Wyber in 64th. Both had solid runs and Harold was another who is showing good improvement as the season progresses.

10th man home was Jolyon Everitt in 113th and the 7th V40. This was a good run from Joe who also supplied our most enthusiastic supporter of the day in the form of his son Leo! Next up was Julian Russell in 241st, the multisport superstar who battled well around a course which could now be considered at the shorter end of his racing CV with a Comrades debut around the corner. Closing the team home in 288th spot was James Perry. James is another who has plugged away at the marathon over the last couple of years and enjoyed an outing around a shorter softer surface this time round. This was a fantastic effort from all our A team men who pulled together and plugged away for a pleasing result, keeping us in the top three in the league table standings.

Supporting the A team charge and opening the scoring for the B team was Tony Pamphilon finishing in 351st and 10th V55 of the day. Next up was Tom Spanyol in 421st, who adjusted well to the cold weather following his international performance at the Benidorm 10k two weeks earlier. Behind Tom, eleven places back was Steve Taylor who came home in 432nd. The B team was closed out by our V60s with Trevor Powell coming home in 455th and Stuart Phillips finished in 473rd. Stuart was pleased to finish higher up the field then his previous outing, or as he calls it, further away from the final finisher!

It was a good collective effort from all and a solid end to the year before we tackle the championships head on, beginning the first weekend in January!


Essex Vets M50s

Given the fixture clash with the Met League, it was little surprise that our presence at Writtle College for the County Vets’ Championships was scant with no women or M40s racing.  We at least managed one runner on the start line in each of the age groups for the M50 race; Gareth Cavell on his M50 debut, Alistair Holford (M60) and a lean looking Roger Green (M70) – unfortunately no scoring team with Andy Coleman’s late withdrawal.

The single lap course took the runners though the college demonstration gardens (no time to look at the plant labels), round the lake (with a short hazardous drop down to and climb up from the lake edge) and out through the fields and woods beyond before retracing its steps back to the finish.  Orion’s Colin Read won in 30m07s with Colchester Harriers taking the team gold from hosts Springfield, by a single point.  Gareth Cavell managed about a third of race before having to pull out with a recurrence of a troublesome calf strain; Alistair Holford finished 71st of the 125 men (and 10th M60+) in 38m10s with Roger Green 86th  just over a couple of minutes back in 40m15s and second of the eight M70s who finished.